Holiday safety reminders
Nothing says Christmas like overloaded circuit breakers, dry Christmas trees, unmaintained fire places, sharp objects and a bit of rum and eggnog mixed in. Although many pages could be written involving safety tips for this time of the year, here are a few basic safety reminders to keep you and your family out of harms way:
It’s a good idea to check over all your electrical decorations prior to plugging them. Be on the lookout for loose or frayed wires and toss any that have seen better days. Don’t overload circuits or place flammable decorations or items near lights on the tree, fireplaces or space heaters. Turn decorative lights and other electrical appliances off if they are going to be unattended or before going to bed. Don’t use damaged extension cords or run cords under rugs as this can be a fire hazard. When you are replacing bulbs, use the proper size and proper power bulb.
Christmas Tree Precautions
Don’t put up your tree too early in the season and make sure to keep it watered to prevent it from drying out. If the tree begins to dry out avoid using any decorative lights and keep ignition sources a considerable distance away. Some tree decorations have actual candles integrated into their design; don’t light these while they are on the tree!
If you have to trim the top off your tree, be extremely careful and use a proper, sturdy step ladder. Many people fall off chairs and faulty step ladders or cut themselves with the saw when not paying attention. Avoid rum and eggnog or other similar beverages which may lead to a reduction in common sense prior to engaging in these types of activities.
Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Lack of maintenance with a wood fireplace can lead to a fire from combustible deposits known as “creosote” that have formed on the inside of the chimney. Have a professional chimney sweep clean and inspect your fire place prior to its use. Generally speaking a yearly inspection is ideal, depending on the frequency of its use and type of wood burned. However, more than one inspection and cleaning per year may be required. Avoid burning paper in the fireplace, as small pieces can fly up into the chimney and ignite residual creosote.
Getting Home Safely & Social Host Liability
If your guests are going to be consuming beverages containing alcohol, it is imperative they arrive home in a safe and legal manner upon leaving your function. Have a plan of action in place before the time comes to take somebody’s keys away or ask if they are okay to drive. If you’re the one attending a party or social function, take a taxi or use a designated driver. Be proactive and plan ahead.
When travelling in the winter, carry the following equipment: tire chains, bag of sand, tow chains, shovel, second set of car keys, first aid kit, flares, food snacks, large candles and a cell phone with a car charger. If you become stranded, experts recommend staying with your vehicle and remain aware of carbon monoxide fumes.
Other Safety Tips
Keep exterior entry ways in your home and business clear of ice and snow. Use sand or ice melter if necessary. For the inside, carpet and rubber mats can be placed in entry ways and exits to keep people from slipping on wet surfaces. Check to make sure the mats do not become bunched with use and create a tripping hazard. If your smoke detectors are not hard wired, now is your official reminder to check and or replace their batteries. Also, take the time to discuss and practice an emergency exit plan with your family should a fire take place and you need to get your loved ones out of the home quickly and safely.
By becoming aware of potential hazards and using your common sense, you will be able to make the most out of this time of year.
This column is intended for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to act as a substitute for seeking the advice of a licensed Insurance Broker or other qualified professional.
Read more Kris' Insurance Corner articles
- Flood insurance: you're not covered! Apr 4
- Environmental Impairment Liability Feb 27
- High value homeowners' insurance Jan 26
- Holiday safety reminders Dec 19
- Business & commercial insurance tips Dec 2
- My house is on fire! Am I covered? Oct 29
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